With the Texas Senate apparently poised to hold up for now on any bills with a new fiscal note, Senate Criminal Justice Committee Chairman John Whitmire said today that tougher punishments are also on hold.
“It’s simple: Enhancements cost money,” said Whitmire, D-Houston. “No enhancements. We don’t have money for them.”
Dozens of bills have been filed seeking enhancements of criminal penalties, as they are each legislative session. Getting tougher on crime is an easy vote-getter back home.
No word from the House, but if the Senate halts enhancements — as it did several legislative sessions ago, triggering controversy — Whitmire’s sentiment could stop many bills dead in their tracks.
IMO this act was merited without the fiscal crisis, but with the economy tanking and the state budget in the red, the idea makes loads of sense.
Thank you, Sen. Whitmire!